On the list of controversial topics to come out of Sunday’s slate of NFL games, this ranks pretty low.

But it has come to my attention that there was a mascot vs. youth football players game at U.S. Bank Stadium as part of the Vikings vs. Buccaneers halftime festivities.

Goldy Gopher — perhaps inspired by P.J. Fleck, the 120 mph Gophers football head coach who was on hand for the ceremonial sounding of the Gjallarhorn — took a pitch, ran right, showed an elite burst of speed to turn the corner … and then basically ran over a young defender on his way to the end zone.

Ben Krause got a fantastic picture of it (shown above with his permission), but seeing it all happen in real time makes it more cringe-worthy.

It was enough, in fact, to get former running back LaDainian Tomlinson talking about it on NFL Gameday Prime along with former defensive back Deion Sanders.

“Who does he think he is?” Tomlinson bellows at one point as the highlight is shown. “This is a little kid right there. Man, you can’t do that.”

Tomlinson then evoked his best Mike Gundy impersonation, challenging Goldy to pick on someone his own size. “I’m a grown man,” Tomlinson shouted. “I’m 38.” (That epic Gundy rant, by the way, just celebrated its 10th anniversary).

Goldy doesn’t seem to upset about it. The mascot’s Twitter feed from yesterday is filled with links to the video of his play. On one Goldy writes, Put me in ! I think I still have some eligibility left!!! .”

Maybe Tomlinson is right. Next halftime should be former NFL players vs. mascots. Then we can have some real fun.

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